If you keep bees eventually you are going to have a lot of broken up pieces of wax to deal with. Since I don’t have an extractor yet (my welding skills aren’t up to that level) I use the crush and strain method – so I have lots of wax to deal with.
Unfortunately this was is mixed with parts of bees, bugs, and other junk, as well as in chunks and pieces. I want to turn this into nice cream colored beeswax that I can USE. To do this I am going to have to melt and strain it.
This article shows how I made a diy solar beeswax melter using a garbage bag, a cooler, and a pane of glass.
I don’t like melting wax in the kitchen because its messy and the wife, but I don’t want to buy a solar beeswax melter, That leaves me the option of building one (which was my devious plan all along). With building one I can go all out and make a really nice wooden one (that I will have to store) or I can make a down and dirty improvised one.
Since the nice solar cooker I made the other day will do the duty of a solar wax melter, I am going to go the improvised route today just for the purpose of experimenting (aka playing around).
I want to give credit where it is due, and say that I learned of this awesome idea from Linda Tillman master beekeeper and owner of the awesome blog Linda’s Bees (http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com).
This is a very inexpensive solar beeswax melter made out of scrap.
Styrofoam Ice Chest
Black Garbage Bag
Cheesecloth or other straining material
Glass (cut to fit top of ice chest approximately 12×16)
Optional Black Spray paint
1.You may want to spray the inside of the ice chest black to help retain heat. It will make it hotter inside. (I did not want to modify the chest, so I just put a black Garbage bag inside.
2.Put ice box outside (somewhere it will get good sunlight during the day, but will not be knocked over or disturbed).
3.Place a small amount (2 inches or so) of water in your container – make sure its glass, metal or study plastic as it will get HOT.
4.Place cheesecloth over the top of the container and tie it down.
5.Place container in the middle of the ice chest
6.Place wax in the center of the cheesecloth.
7.Use duct-tape to wrap edges of your glass to protect your hands form cuts.
a.The easiest way to get the glass is to buy a sheet of replacement glass from the local blue or orange big box DIY stores.
8.Put glass on top of icebox to act as a lid to retain the heat generated by the sun.
Over the course of the day the sun will heat the icebox (just like a car in a parking lot), which in turn will melt your wax. The wax will drip through the cheesecloth (filtering out bits and pieces of bees and bugs at the same time). This liquid wax will float on the top of the water, which makes it form into a block. Without the water the wax would solidify on the bottom of the container making it hard to remove.
If you repeat this process over the course of several days, I have heard that each pass through the solar melter will lighten the color of the wax – This is attributed to the filtering and the UV rays of the sun.